Market Your Magic
Marjorie Brody, CSP, President, Brody Communications Ltd.
82nd Annual International Conference Proceedings - 1997
In today's business climate of downsizing, re-engineering and belt-tightening, the ability to market yourself effectively can have lasting effects on your career. Whether you are self-employed or work for a company, with low visibility you will have virtually no visibility. But you can learn to develop and use important skills that will work no matter what industry you are in. Using the word M*A*G*I*C as an acronym, follow the steps that will lead you toward the mastery of your own effective personal marketing plan. After you have finished, use the form at the end to develop your own personal MAGIC.
M: Meet as many people as possible.
Lots of people, all kinds and levels of people, wherever you go and whatever you may be doing. Remember what Malcolm Forbes said: "There are no unimportant people." This process is also familiarly known as networking. I can trace the evolution of my own career from college professor to president of a training company by way of a networking path that started while I was teaching during the day and working on my doctorate at night.
No one ever taught me how to network, but I am a student of people. Early in my adult life I met a man who was an exceptionally hard worker. I would suggest he go to lunch with colleagues. He was too busy working. I would suggest that he get involved in company outings. He was too busy. I would suggest that he should be more social. He told me I didn't understand business. After all, I was only a college professor. Even when he would be passed over for promotion and complain bitterly that those who were promoted didn't do the quality of work that he did, he still didn't get it. It is now 25 years later, he is still working hard and still complaining about being passed over but he still doesn't get it. Networking works.
People do business with or promote the people they know and respect. The quality of work is a given. It isn't enough. Life is a big networking opportunity, take advantage of it. Within your own organization don't overlook these places:
- training sessions
- having meals with co-workers or clients
- going to company-sponsored parties, events
Professionally: join professional or community associations, attend conferences, look into your local chamber of commerce, many offer interesting programs that can be good networking possibilities.
A: Attitude adjustment.
Give yourself some credit. All of us have a lot to offer others and it's people who will help you achieve your goals. It is people who buy your goods and services. It is people who hire and fire you, it's people who promote you, so it is people we need to connect with. Corporations spend millions every year marketing their corporate image. Getting out the word. If you don't blow your own horn and market yourself, create your own image, who will?
I ran into a old friend who was helping her husband, a successful entrepreneur, write the company newsletter. She asked me about my career. I told her. She said, "You are so lucky, you know so many people to help you." Luck is when opportunity and hard work come together.
How can we change our attitude?
- Get rid of notion that good things come to those who wait or that the meek shall inherit the earth or that it's not nice to talk about yourself.
- Buy into the concept that self or personal marketing is a survival skill
- Change your self-talk from "Who would want to talk to me?" or "What do I have to offer?" to "Darn I'm good" and "Others need to know what I have to offer." If you ask most successful people if they always feel confident, the answer will be no. They have to push themselves to be out there.
G: means get ready.
Prior and proper planning, preparation, and practice prevent poor performance.
Let's look at eight ways to get ready:
- Have a 30 second self introduction, something you can use when meeting new people. Have another one to use inside your company.
- Prepare yourself. Find out who is going to be there and learn about them.
- Have your business cards available. Not to hand out indiscriminately but have them ready to hand out in appropriate situations. Write notes on the back of cards you receive to help you with follow-up.
- Have a really good handshake. Not limp and not a bone crusher. Firm and three quick pumps work best for men and women.
- Practice good communication skills: make eye contact, smile, listen.
- Learn how to make small talk. Read books, newspapers (all sections) and ask others about themselves
- Pay attention to the common courtesies. Send thank you notes to those who help you. Value other people's time. Say thank you.
- Follow-up. Fax, e-mail, do lunch.
I: stands for "Investing your time by getting involved."
- at work: volunteer to head committees, fund drives
- invite clients or co-workers to lunch. Lunch is part of work
- attend events: corporate picnics, parties, etc.
Get involved by joining associations and working at them, getting on boards, getting active in your community, and neighborhoods. Also get involved by keeping up to date with the happenings at your company. Read about promotions, personal happenings and write notes to congratulate people. The idea is to keep your name out there. Attend training sessions to keep up your skills.
C: Communicate what you do through writing and speaking.
Don't be afraid to tell people about what you are working on. Write or speak about your area of expertise or a technique that worked for you. If you are in sales, write about relationship selling, or tell a story with lessons learned. If you are in human resources, write about hiring practices. If you are a consultant, write about some lessons learned when working with a particular industry or client. You could submit articles to the company newsletter, association newsletters, local newspapers, professional journals. Write letters to the editor. Send notification of awards or other achievements. If you hate to write: get a writer, co-author, tape-write and get it edited. Be interviewed and let others write about you.
Speak at meetings, present at a brown bag lunch, community events at local colleges or high school evening courses, local associations, even speakers bureaus. If you hate to speak, get coached and start small by introducing other speakers.
I have found that networking leads to speaking opportunities, articles lead to both and before you know it you have begun to market your magic.
Meeting people, doing an Attitude Adjustment, Getting ready, Investing your timely Getting involved and by Communicating are the tools you need to create you own personal marketing plan.
Is this magic? Not really. The only magic involved is within each of us.
Market Your Magic
M: List three people you would like to meet
Where can you meet them?
A: Give one reason people would like to meet you.
G: Write a self-introduction.
I: List two ways you can invest your time by getting involved.
C: Write the topics you can write or speak about.
Marjorie Brody, Certified Speaking Professional, is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and seminar leader with more than 25 years of experience. She is president of Brody Communications Ltd., a business training and consulting firm in Elkins Park, PA. Marjorie is author of five books on etiquette, presentations skills and personal marketing. In addition to these books, she has business videos and audio tapes on improving presentation skills. A software package on "Creating Powerful Presentations," an audio cassette series entitled "Climbing the Corporate Ladder," and a book called "21 Ways To Springboard Your Speaking, Training & Consulting Career" are the three newest product offerings.